Fireworks Can Cause Panic: Keep Your Pets Safe and Indoors

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Tips from OHS to keep your pets safe on the Fourth of July

Fireworks can cause your pets to panic. Whether it’s a big Independence Day firework display or neighbors using sparklers and poppers in their driveway, your pets don’t know it is part of a celebration.

On July 5, animal shelters across the country will face the daunting task of caring for the many lost dogs and cats who bolted from their homes because they were terrified of fireworks. Sadly, some lost pets are never reunited with their owners.

The Oregon Humane Society urges all pet owners to keep their pets indoors, in a safe and secure area. “Even if you think your pet will be ok, don’t take a chance,” says Tanya Roberts, OHS training and behavior manager. “A panicked pet can quickly escape a fenced yard or get loose.”

Here are some additional suggestions to keep pets safe:

  1. Dogs and cats who are distressed should be placed inside a room with closed windows and a secure door. A screen door will not stop a frightened dog. Don’t take a dog to watch a large commercial firework display, as this increases the likelihood of your pet becoming lost in an unfamiliar area.
  2. Make sure all pets, even indoor-only cats, wear a collar with an identification tag that includes your name and telephone number. An identification microchip is even better, as it is embedded in your pet and cannot be lost. These simple precautions will go a long way towards ensuring a rapid reunion with a lost pet.
  3. At home, a ThunderShirt, flower essences, pheromones or gentle touch can also help ease a pet’s anxiety.
  4. Walk dogs in the afternoon, well before nightfall, to prevent undue stress from noisy fireworks.
  5. For dogs with extreme reactions to fireworks, talk with your veterinarian about medication.
  6. More ideas from the Oregon Humane Society Training and Behavior Department can be found here.

If your pet becomes lost during the holiday:

  1. Check with your local animal control agency. Many agencies have lost-and-found listings on their website (OHS, by law, cannot accept stray animals).
  2. Post on Nextdoor, Craigslist, and other lost pet websites.
  3. Put up flyers with a photo and description of the missing pet.
  4. Search your neighborhood and your own property thoroughly. Lost cats, for example, are often found hiding under a bush in front of their owner’s home.
  5. More resources regarding Fourth of July pet safety, plus help for reuniting lost and found dogs with their owners, can be found on the OHS website.

If you find a stray animal, please keep them with you until your local animal shelter is open and ready to receive them. Below is contact information for shelters in the Portland metro and Southwest Washington areas:

Multnomah County Animal Services
1700 W. Historic Columbia River Highway, Troutdale, OR

Humane Society for Southwest Washington
1100 NE 192nd Ave. Vancouver, WA

Clackamas County Dog Services
13141 SE Highway 212, Clackamas, OR

Oregon Humane Society
1067 NE Columbia Blvd., Portland, OR
(Note: OHS does not accept stray animals; please contact your local county shelter)

Bonnie L. Hays Small Animal Shelter/Washington County Animal Services
1901 SE 24th Avenue, Hillsboro, OR

Clark County Animal Protection and Control
1300 Franklin Street, Vancouver, WA

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